Your Supermarket Choices Could Endanger Africa’s Apes

Igor Purlantov

The spread of palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia has ravaged forest-dwelling orangutans, whose population has dwindled to 7,300 individuals in the wild. Now a budding palm oil boom in Africa threatens that continent’s great apes.  Demand for palm oil, which is considered a healthy alternative to butter, has skyrocketed in recent years, becoming an ingredient in scores of products, from chocolate to shampoo to biodiesel. About half of the stuff you buy from your local supermarket contains palm oil, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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